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MAY 11

“You can’t go to D.C. and not do Marion Barry jokes,” says Chris Rock. “It’s against the law.” What a shame then that there’s been so little to make sport of in the Mayor-for-Life’s life of late. But Rock is prepared. (He is, after all, the roving reporter for Comedy Central’s Politically Incorrect, where his reports from the field often find him searching in vain for other black faces on the campaign trail.) There’s that Million-or-Was-It-800,000-Man March thing to discuss. And “the president down the block” might prove worthy of a jibe or two, thinks Rock, who is here to tape an HBO special called Bring the Pain. “It’s a street term for ‘really good,’” he explains. “‘He’s gonna bring the pain.’ It’s the new version of ‘so good it hurts.’” And the waifish comic knows about pain. The nearly full-scale Rock is currently being upstaged by “Little Penny” Hardaway, the utterly surreal puppet star of shoe commercials that Rock “advises.” “Little Penny is bigger than me,” he rages, then quickly tempers this with a generous “We can coexist.” Like every other stand-up, Rock has a book in the works. But his is not a collection of recycled witticisms. “I’m writing a black version of The Bell Curve,” he reveals. The original book didn’t bother him as much as the fact “that every bookstore put it in the nonfiction section,” he says, dumbfounded. “Fuck you, Barnes & Noble.” The pain will be doled out twice, 7:30 & 10 p.m. at the Takoma Theater, 4th & Butternut Sts. NW. $20. (202) 291-8760. (Dave Nuttycombe)